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The spirit lives - 76%

Felix 1666, March 20th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Undercover Records

The first leads of the intro are arriving like ponderous waves, and only a pale light shimmers through the cloudy sky. Vargsang's debut conveys the spirit of black metal right from the beginning. However, don't be fooled by the slow-moving intro. Already the next track accelerates the pace. Nevertheless, the dense atmosphere remains. "Call of the Nightwolves" does not put the focus on a very differentiated production. Instead, all instruments and the raw, throaty voice build a strong unit that relies on the permanently flowing guitar lines. The skimpy melodies are committed to the recipe of second wave black metal. The dark forests of Scandinavia are omnipresent, while one-man army Vargsang expresses the loneliness of a hermit and the anger of a misanthrope as well. In the event that Grim Reaper himself listens to the album, voluntarily or not, he can rest assured. No sun rays or any other signs of life disturb the mood of this debut.

The constant flow of the well produced guitars does not affect the dynamism of the album. "Grave by the Oak" is a good example for a song that combines dynamic elements with intensive guitars in a clever way. But it might be misleading to emphasize specific songs. The album works as a whole. The listener finds neither throwaway tracks nor brilliant highlights. Vargsang has a clear vision and with regard to the fact that he has no companions, he does not need to make bad compromises. Malicious tongues will claim that this album is dominated by monotony, but I beg to differ. Principally speaking, pure black metal is never monotonous. Furthermore, Vargsang's songs sound authentic and exciting, because he finds the right balance between harmonies and brutality. Finally, I appreciate the total absence of pompous elements. Orchestral sounds are not compatible with bloodthirsty black metal and the same applies to any form of campfire romanticism and acoustic guitars.

As far as I can see, the lyrics deliver the usual poetry of the sub genre. The artist concentrates on occult, anti-religious and mystic topics without providing a link to true events. (By contrast, the third album refers to Albert Fish. After having written the review for "Werewolf of Wysteria", I was informed that this title was a synonym for this psychopathic asshole. This designation is too rude? Well, then I quote the sick guys of Macabre: Albert was worse than any fish in the sea.) The booklet tells us that the album is packed with "hateful black metal" and I agree, although the remaining text, a declaration of war against "gothic black metal kiddies", tempts the listener to pay more attention to these nutcases than they deserve.

The absence of surprising breaks does not mean that the songs lack of depth or substance. They invite the audience on a journey to the dark centre of his soul. Multi-instrumentalist Vargsang has created simple tunes which distinguish themselves by clear structures and the purity of the compositional approach. Okay, this is no monumental, groundbreaking or breathtaking work, but it keeps the blazing flame of raw black metal alive. The spirit of "Call of the Nightwolves" is more important than spectacular musical refinements.